Fuente del Conde
Welcome to the second part of our interview with Marijke, who took the plunge and bought a rustic country house in Fuente del Conde. Hear what Marijke has learnt since the first episode, including dealing with teething issues, plans for the blog, and what advice she’d give to people relocating.
- [1:42] What happened on the day of their arrival
- [2:46] Musings of living in the remote Spanish countryside
- [4:31] How they’ve made their new place feel at home
- [4:47] The shipping process
- [6:09] Reactions from family and friends about their big move abroad
- [8:02] Marijke’s love of travel
- [9:42] Plans with the blog
- [13:33] Description of their big rustic home
- Welcome to the Kyero.com Spanish Property podcast where we interview people who recently purchased their dream home in Spain.
- They tell us what worked, what didn’t and what they’d do differently next time.
- I’m Beth Davison and today I’m continuing a story from previous episodes of the podcast, and catching up with Marijke, originally from Holland, who has been blogging about her experiences of moving from the U.K. to Spain.
- She purchased her dream home in Puente del Conde, and if you missed it you can catch up with the first part of her story: the logistics and planning of such a big move, by heading back to episode 56, which aired back in November.
- In this episode, though, Marijke has arrived in her new home, and talks us through a few of the unexpected challenges along the way.
- Check out the show notes at com/podcast to find links and resources mentioned in this episode.
Body of Transcript
Marijke: Hello again, it's Marijke, Marijke Cazemier. I'm from the Netherlands originally but have lived in the U.K. for thirty-nine years and am married to a Brit, Hillary. We decided, about a year ago, that we would move to Spain, to Andalucía, for a period of one year as a bit of an adventure to try and test it out.
Beth: And where are you right now, Marijke?
Marijke: We are, right now, in Casa Compestre, which is our house in the middle of our campo, which is the middle of the countryside.
Beth: You made it!
Marijke: We made it! I know, we had a long journey to get here. We had two weeks in the Netherlands and then we travelled from the Netherlands to here in a period of five or six days. You know, Beth, when we arrived it was on a Friday, Friday the thirteenth, which is certainly unlucky for some. It was absolutely fine. The weather was great when we arrived, but within one hour of our arrival we had the biggest thunderstorm I have ever seen around here. It lasted for forty-eight hours. The roads were muddy and slippery and quite difficult to drive on - the tracks in particular. We weren't quite sure what we'd come to, actually, thinking, "What have we done?"
Beth: Oh no!
Marijke: But the funny thing is that, in Spain, it changes within a blink. So, the moment the sun started to shine all the roads cleared, everything dried up, and it's all as it always was, and it's just beautiful at the moment, absolutely gorgeous weather.
Beth: Have you had many of those moments of that, "What have we done?" Or suddenly feeling very stressed out, and it makes you question your choices? I think that's very normal in a big change.
Marijke: Well, I think next time we talk I might have some further thoughts on that because I've only been here, to live, for a couple of weeks.
Beth: Yeah, yeah.
Marijke: And we have had visitors throughout. But, we have had moments, and they're mainly related to being in our campo, in the field, in the countryside, because we have a well. The well sometimes runs dry, or maybe it doesn't run dry but the electric goes, or something goes wrong with the well and if I haven't got water it makes me feel terrible. But, it's a way of finding out how to deal with stuff.
So, the first time you think, "Oh no, this is terrible." The second time you think, "Oh, yes, well I'll stand it, it's just this miss, and you check that." You do it a few times around. Now, when the well goes wrong, we think, "OK, we first do this, then we do that, then we do that, then we do that." We've always resolved it. So, most things are fine. It's just occasionally we come up with something new and we think, "Hmmm, that's new, how are we going to overcome that one?"
Beth: Yeah, absolutely. Have any thoughts kind of turned to home? How are you feeling? You left a home of twenty-four years and packed it all up. Have you been thinking about that much?
Marijke: For me, no. Leaving the home was hard because our kids grew up there and it was a lovely place, and we rented it out to a lovely family. So, occasionally we get notes from them, from the estate agents, to say, "Oh, something has gone wrong, or the fridge no longer works, or the ventilator no longer works." You know, little things like that. That reminds you of your old house. But, every experience here is different, and it's also still very much our home. You know, it's got our pieces of furniture. When they arrived last week it was fantastic. All my clothes were there, and all the lovely bits that we packed especially for Spain. That makes you feel very at home here.
Beth: I was going to say, how did the shipping process go? I know the packing up was great, and receiving it also. There were no breakages, no nightmares happened, it was all pretty straightforward?
Marijke: Everything went as clockwork. It couldn't have gone any better. The company that we used, I have to say, they were magnificent because they would always let us know where they were on the journey. So they'd say," Can we come round on a Monday, Tuesday, or Wednesday next week to deliver the stuff?"
I said, "That's fine."
On Monday they called to say, "Actually, it's going to be Wednesday, between twelve and two." And they were here, on Wednesday, at twelve o'clock. So, they've been absolutely fabulous.
All the stuff arrived. Nothing has gone missing. It's brilliant, actually. Yeah, yeah, we've been very lucky maybe, or maybe this was a very good company.
Beth: Yeah, or maybe this is... you know, everyone thinks of the worst, the absolute worst things that could go wrong when you do a move like this, but actually, you are proof that maybe you are lucky. But I think, actually, maybe it's a mark of great organization, which we touched on last time.
So, you mentioned that you've had lots of visitors so far. We didn't talk about the reactions, really, of family and friends when you first told them that you were leaving for a whole year. Were people supportive? Were they nervous? What have responses been like?
Marijke: Hmmm, that is a very good question. I think most most people are extremely excited for us, and extremely happy for us. Nobody really said, "Oh, are you sure you know what you're going to do? Are you sure of what you're getting yourself in for?" I guess that's partially, in my view, because we're only going for a year, a year and a half maybe. You don't commit to that forever more. You're not going to say, "We're going to live in Spain until we're 80 or 90." This is just, "Let's try it for a couple of weeks." It's quite a sensible move to just stay for a year, a year and a half.
Obviously, if we love it, we'll stay. But if not we'll go back, because we know the country. I don't know. In the whole, actually, the responses has been very, very positive. At work people were extremely jealous. Saying, "You're going to do that? Isn't that lovely!" And there also was a bit of, "Are you sure you won't stay on? Are you sure you don't want to stay for a bit longer?"
But actually, I can't think of any negative response or cautionary response. Some people I know would feel that it wouldn't be for them. They've been to visit this place, they love to play, but that's it. It's too remote. It couldn't work out." But that's a personal choice that you make. I have to say that, if in a year's time, I feel it's just too remote for me, then I won't stay. It's as simple as that.
Beth: Yeah, which is a really nice level of flexibility to have.
Marijke: It is, yeah, absolutely.
Beth: Did you travel a lot when you were younger during the gap years and things like that, or have you saved it for later in life and after your career is well established, or have you always been a traveller?
Marijke: I've always loved to travel, no question. So, even as a child we would always go to France or Switzerland or Germany on holiday, a camping holiday mainly. Then I moved to the U.K. and I met my husband, we always tried to get away in the summer for at least three weeks, which is a luxury, and quite unusual in the U.K., in particular. In Holland it's normal, but in the U.K. it's unusual to read about a place and we would hitchhike and take busses and trains to all sorts of wild and wonderful places, usually within Europe.
So, yeah, we love to travel, we love meeting people, we love seeing different cultures, I love tasting different foods, and tasting different wines and everything. Then about five years ago we went to South America for two months and travelled all around there, again, by bus, some by plane and by train but usually by bus or car. That was outstanding, so, we are travellers.
Beth: Yeah, definitely, I think you do need an adventurous personality, at some point, to undertake something like this. But what you're breaking it down to is lots of manageable bit sized chunks, which I really like. You've taken it all step by step.
Of course, we haven't yet mentioned (this episode) the blog. How has that been going? Have you thought of any more posts? Have you been doing any more posts? Obviously life has been very busy, in the month that it's been since I last spoke to you.
Marijke: It has been very busy with moving and travelling and now, the last two weeks, ever since we have been in Spain, actually, we've had nonstop visitors. It's just been fantastic because I love having people around. I love cooking together and even doing things like doing the washing up together. It's a pleasure because you get to know people much better when they stay with you for three or four days, then if you just have them over. So, I think the relationships you create by having people visiting makes for much deeper relationships.
It is really cool, and it's a lovely thing to do, a lovely thing to show people around. Getting back to your question, I haven't given one thought to the blog except one area or two areas, maybe, when we went to see a ‘gestor’, an administration manager in our local town of Iznájar. She was helping with getting our residency status sorted out - our house papers and documentation and really all that stuff that you need to do when you come for a year. That was really, really helpful to meet her.
So, she set up an appointment in Cordoba, which is where we need to go to get our residency papers. She told us all the paperwork we needed to bring and all of the stuff that we needed to do before hand. So, people like that have been fantastic. So, there will be a blog around that. That would be useful for people.
Then the other blog will be around a cars, because I had no idea that to move your British car over to Spain that you can only have it for about a period of six months before you need to give it Spanish number plates. I have also learned it needs to have a Spanish owner too. It needs to have the lights changed to conform to the way that they shine, and other things as well. Then there are taxes to be paid - import taxes. All of that is so much that we actually decided to buy a second hand 'run around car' here for Spain and not do all that other stuff with our British car.
Marijke: That was learning for us.
Beth: Yeah, totally. So, what's your decision? What do you do physically with the British car? Can it stay off road in Spain?
Marijke: I don't know yet. We've got insurance brokers in the U. K. and explain to them what we want to do. What we hope we can do is put it off road here, in Spain, and therefore we don't need to tax and insure it for a period of six months, or whatever. Then drive it for a period of time to take it back to the Netherlands, or to the U.K. That's our plan but whether we can or not, I don't know.
Beth: OK, interesting. It's something that you just wouldn't think about until you're there. I thought there were going to be those things that would just kind of pop up along the way, but it's so interesting to hear about.
Beth: Lastly, let's just talk about the house because we haven't focused our attention on the beautiful farmhouse that you bought. How did it feel walking through the door, your keys in hand, the first time you walked through?
Marijke: The first time... Actually, every single time that we walk through these doors we are just amazed that this is our home. It's so incredibly lovely. It's rustic. I can't describe it.
It was built in the 1940s and it looks way, way, way, much older. It's got lots of doors and lots of windows, so the light is pouring in where ever you look. Then the windows are open and you can look out over the view, over the mountains.
It's got a massive patio, at the front, where you can sit under the shade umbrella and take in the parcel, which is lovely with the view. Then we also have the roof terrace with a view at the back. It just feels like it's just an amazing place. It's beautiful.
It's quite simple. It's not a luxury home. The way I can best describe it is that it is not plug and play. It's not like a villa where you go in and you press a few buttons and it all works. It's an older style house that needs care and attention. We need a lot of work done on the doors, we need a lot work done on the patios, and on some garaging, and on some bits and pieces because it is an older style house. But it has got charm and it's lovely.
Beth: Amazing, I can hear it in your voice, that feeling, and it happens quite a lot with people we talk to on this podcast. It's just, for all the stress, for all the fears and everything that people worry about, you do know when you have found the perfect place and it does feel like home, and it's a very exciting thing to have done. I'm so pleased that the weather has cheered up as well. So, now you can sit on that patio.
I'm going to leave you to settle in for the next few months, and then, if you don't mind, I'll catch up to you one more time just to see how the Spanish life plan has gone and how you're feeling a few months in.
Marijke: What it's really like.
Beth: Yeah, exactly, once you have lived there.
Marijke: Yeah, OK. It was lovely speaking with you.
Beth: Yes, again, thank you Marijke.
Marijke: Thank you, bye for now.
- Thank you for listening and thanks again to Marijke for sharing her experiences. We'll be catching up on the final part of her story in the New Year, but if you'd like to check out Marijke's blog, head over to com, look under the Resources And Advice Section, and click on Finding Our Sunshine. While you're there, remember, if you like what you've heard, you can search for all of our agents properties.
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- Tune in next time when we've got a bit of a New Year's special for you. I catch up with Laura, originally from West Sussex, who didn't buy a dream home in Spain, but built one.When I say 'Home,' to be more precise, I mean an eco-friendly Earth Ship. I have so many question.
- I’m Beth Davison and you’ve been listening to the Kyero.com Spanish property podcast. We'll see you next year!